INDY, BABY!

Dana Me­cum’s 31st Spring Clas­sic Hosts Big Col­lec­tions and Solid Sales

Muscle Car Review - - Contents - By Ge­off Stunkard

Dana Me­cum’s 31st Spring Clas­sic hosts big col­lec­tions and solid sales

Dana Me­cum’s big car auc­tion in In­di­anapo­lis was both tra­di­tional and in­no­va­tive this year, fea­tur­ing healthy sell-through num­bers (cars sold ver­sus those that did not meet re­serve) and some sur­prises. The month of May, of course, is a time that car guys from around the globe con­verge on the In­di­anapo­lis area for the 500-mile race. In­deed, Me­cum Auc­tions works with the Speed­way on pro­mo­tions, and the com­pany even spon­sors an en­try in the Indy 500 these days. How­ever, for those of us who love more than the drama of the Brick­yard’s four cor­ners, it is the week­end be­fore at the state fair­grounds that holds our at­ten­tion.

This year the event sim­ply known to many as Me­cum Indy en­tailed six days and 2,200 cars, plus a large as­sort­ment of road art, mem­o­ra­bilia, and an im­mense col­lec­tion of boat­ing hard­ware from the es­tate of the late Jim Street. The truth is if you ap­pre­ci­ate all things me­chan­i­cal, there is some­thing

“Ev­ery car in the group held mul­ti­ple AACA and other event hon­ors”

at this event that would likely fas­ci­nate you. From wood-sided sta­tion wag­ons and pre­war clas­sics to ev­ery form of mus­cle car you can imag­ine and on through to­day’s do­mes­tic and global ex­otics, some­one is sell­ing it through Me­cum. This event is prob­a­bly the bell­wether for our car fo­cus, with more than half of the lots be­ing Amer­i­can per­for­mance­ori­ented cars. SC/Ram­blers and Z/28s, Hemi ’Cu­das and Boss Mus­tangs, 427 Gal­ax­ies and Stage 1 Buicks, all were here. And as al­ways there were thrilling sales, some a lit­tle eye­open­ing.

Big Game Hunters

The event started Tues­day, and un­til the mid­dle of Fri­day the top sales had been a pre­war Packard, a nice 440-4 Su­per­bird, and a new 2018 De­mon, all un­der $250,000. An un­re­stored black 1969 Boss 429 crossed the block to ham­mer a very strong $423,500 right af­ter noon, then came the Best of Show Col­lec­tion. These were larger do­mes­tic su­per­cars from the pre-1965 era—Chrysler 300s, high-finned Cadil­lacs, and their ilk (there was a 1964 GTO and a for­mer Billy Gib­bons–owned 1969 CJ Mus­tang as well). Pow­er­ful and beau­ti­ful, they would take 8 of those top 10 spots when the fi­nal car in this group sold. Top seller was a 1958 New Yorker with 392 Hemi power that com­manded a $330,000 price (in­clud­ing pre­mium). The Best of Show ti­tle was not brag­gado­cio, as ev­ery car in the group held mul­ti­ple AACA and other event hon­ors. That GTO went to a new home for $176,000, and the Mus­tang con­vert­ible went back home de­spite a spir­ited climb that stopped at $190,000.

The Best of Show Col­lec­tion was just one of more than 30 “spe­cial group­ings” at this event. They of­fered some great op­por­tu­ni­ties, such as a 351ci 1970 Mach 1 that ham­mered sold at $35,200 dur­ing the obliquely named “A Spe­cial Of­fer­ing at No Re­serve” that started Thurs­day’s ac­tion, and $16,500 for a nice 1963 Im­pala SS with 327 power that was part of “A Mary­land Clas­sic Car

Col­lec­tion” late on Wed­nes­day. Most note­wor­thy of the nore­serve of­fer­ings were sev­eral cars from Cal­i­for­nia out of Tim Miller’s Surf City Garage Col­lec­tion. Its pop­u­lar mod­els in­cluded nine GTOs and Judges, a hand­ful of B-Body Mopars, and an as­sort­ment of clas­sic Ca­maros, Corvettes, T-birds, and wood­ies. This group sold on Fri­day at very balanced prices for to­day’s mar­ket­place, rang­ing be­tween $34,100 and $101,200.

Satur­day was for heavy hit­ters. Reg­gie Jack­son had a num­ber of cars from his col­lec­tion, in­clud­ing a white 1969 Yenko Chev­elle that Mr. Septem­ber kept de­spite a $310,000 of­fer. Jack­son did sell sev­eral of his Corvettes and other mus­cle cars. On that note, a com­plete col­lec­tion of Corvette Indy 500 Pace Cars sold as a sin­gle lot for $1.7 mil­lion on Satur­day.

Price Lead­ers

Be­hind the black Boss 429, the week­end’s top over­all mus­cle car, other Boss and Shelby Mus­tangs on Satur­day climbed into the health­i­est price points for mus­cle cars this week­end. In­clud­ing pre­mi­ums, a se­cond Boss 429 in red sold for $379,500, and $302,500 bought a 1967 G.T. 500 that had been off the mar­ket for 33 years. Be­yond that were a few pre­mium Mus­tangs that did not meet their re­serves, as well as sev­eral more com­mon ex­am­ples that went to new homes for un­der $30,000. Of the other Fords of­fered here, three light­weight Gal­ax­ies sped to new garages at prices be­tween $126,000 and $140,000.

The Dodge brand led the Hemi Chryslers with a Shaker-op­tioned 1970 Hemi Chal­lenger sell­ing for $264,000. A real

FM3 (Pan­ther Pink) 1970 Chal­lenger T/A soared to $198,000, a 440-cube 1969 Day­tona once owned by Big Wil­lie Robin­son went to $203,500, and a sur­vivor Hemi Charger from 1968 in rough but com­plete shape topped $132,000. While a cou­ple of Ply­mouths were higher no-sales, the top seller was a 1970 ’Cuda at $198,000, fol­lowed by four Su­per­birds, all in white, which sold be­tween $154,000 and $187,000. Sev­eral Mopars sold well un­der $50,000, even dur­ing prime sales hours; one was a real steel-nosed 426 Max Wedge 1964 Ply­mouth hard­top gaveled at $49,500.

Chevro­let prices were led by Corvettes, in­clud­ing the big­gest no-sale of the event, a 1967 L88 model that didn’t change hands de­spite a $2.2 mil­lion of­fer. The top-sell­ing Ca-

maro this year was a beau­ti­ful 1969 427 COPO RS at $198,000, and a 1970 LS6 Chev­elle at $148,500 was the top seller for that model.

The other GMs were led by Mike Guarise’s Po­lar White 1970 Buick GS Stage 1 con­vert­ible, whose $184,250 led all Buick model sales by more than $100,000. Dr. Olds’ love ma­chines capped at $121,000 for a black 1970 4-4-2 W-30 con­vert­ible, while the afore­men­tioned 1964 GTO from the Best of Show col­lec­tion topped the In­di­ans at $176,000, with two oth­ers cross­ing the $100,000 thresh­old as well. Top AMC sale was $38,500 for a 1970 AMX.

Anal­y­sis

It ap­pears that prices are mod­er­at­ing right now. Pre­mium ex­am­ples that have sold at record prices were not a ma­jor fac­tor here in 2018, the FM3 Chal­lenger T/A per­haps be­ing the big ex­cep­tion. Real Z/28s re­main strong, with Mus­tang and Ca­maro mod­els in gen­eral re­tain­ing their pop­u­lar­ity as barom­e­ters of the mus­cle mar­ket­place. Mopars may be soft­en­ing a lit­tle, though only from the strato­spheric prices gen­er­ated dur­ing pre­vi­ous of­fer­ings of very spe­cial cars like con­vert­ibles.

Across all brands, mo­ti­vated sell­ers were look­ing to find buy­ers, pulling re­serves fairly early in many cases; and buy­ers had to have been happy with pric­ing com­pared to other years. That said, on av­er­age auc­tion prices seemed to have found a lev­el­ing trend across the board at the mo­ment. Stel­lar ex­am­ples in each mar­que are still de­mand­ing a pre­mium, and resto­mods were be­ing bought cau­tiously but still changed own­er­ship. There were also some very solid val­ues on well-com­pleted trib­ute cars. The larger cars were spec­tac­u­lar in con­di­tion and pric­ing but prob­a­bly would not re­ally be con­sid­ered “mus­cle cars” in the tra­di­tional sense.

All in all, when the gavel fell for the fi­nal time on Sun­day, Me­cum Indy was a very en­joy­able event. And if you are buy­ing? Well, it might be time to con­sider that dream car.

n Among the sur­prises was this amaz­ingly orig­i­nal 1968 Hemi Charger that had come in from Venezuela. An au­to­matic show­ing 23,000 orig­i­nal kilo­me­ters (about 14,000 miles) and fea­tur­ing the orig­i­nal engine, sheetmetal, paint, and in­te­rior, the highly op­tioned barn find sold for $132,000, likely to a buyer who will keep it as-is. Dana Me­cum per­son­ally placed the Sold sticker on that front li­cense plate to leave the dust on the wind­shield un­mo­lested.

n As usual, real Z/28 Ca­maros are pop­u­lar cars. Two crossed the $100,000 thresh­old this week­end. This Olympic Gold ex­am­ple, com­plete with the cross-ram SCCA in­take lay­out and a match­ing white top/in­te­rior/stripe com­bi­na­tion, sold Fri­day af­ter­noon for $104,000.

n Not only were Boss Mus­tangs on hand, but a few them sold very well to help es­tab­lish pric­ing at the 2018 Me­cum Spring Clas­sic. This beau­ti­ful Candy Ap­ple Red ex­am­ple with num­bers-match­ing driv­e­line and fresh ex­pert restora­tion sold for $379,500 on Satur­day.

Seen here is Matt Wagoner out of Kansas and part of his col­lec­tion of qual­ity Stage 1 Buicks. Wagoner, like a num­ber of col­lec­tors with mul­ti­ple cars be­ing of­fered this week­end, sold sev­eral both through the auc­tion and via the Bid Goes On process.n One car that Wagoner did end up keep­ing was this amaz­ing one-off 1970 ex­am­ple that had been spe­cially built by GM for auto show use. Bid­ding closed at $120,000 for the car, which fea­tured spe­cial paint and glass for in­door ap­pear­ances.

n Late on Satur­day, Ok­la­homa cow­boy Con­nie Moore sold this J-code Shaker-op­tioned 429 CJpow­ered Torino con­vert­ible, a car he told us he had owned for more than 35 years and was largely orig­i­nal in terms of in­te­rior, driv­e­line, and ac­ces­sories. The rare Ford brought $74,250 on Satur­day.n

n The so-called Duchess and Duke Day­tona sold for $203,000 in its first pub­lic auc­tion of­fer­ing since a com­plete restora­tion. The 440ci ver­sion used for tow­ing, and sole re­main­ing wing rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the late Big Wil­lie and Tomiko Robin­son’s leg­endary Los An­ge­les– based Brother­hood of Street Rac­ers cars, the sale in­cluded Tomiko’s 1970s-era hel­met. Both Hemi-pow­ered ex­am­ples the cou­ple raced in the Street Rac­ers glory days are be­lieved de­stroyed.

n Here it is, the top-sell­ing mus­cle car of the 31st An­nual Spring Clas­sic. This well-doc­u­mented, mostly-orig­i­nal-con­di­tion1969 Boss 429 Mus­tang with a num­bers-match­ing driv­e­line, few prior own­ers, ex­cel­lent prove­nance, and scarce orig­i­nal Raven Black paint climbed on Fri­day to sell for $423,500 against the high es­ti­mate of $375,000.

n Leg­endary mus­cle car col­lec­tor Reg­gie Jack­son, who was also quite leg­endary in base­ball, shares some in­for­ma­tion on the cars he had for sale at the event with tele­vi­sion an­nouncer Bill Stephens. Jack­son was among sev­eral celebrities who made the trek to Indy this year.

Of the E-Body Mopars, sev­eral Hemi ver­sions climbed to solid heights, but the big­gest sur­prise was the $198,000 gen­er­ated by this very spe­cial 1970 Chal­lenger T/A. The Chal­lenger was es­ti­mated to sell at $155,000, but low mileage and cool op­tions like the Dixco hood tach, the tag-coded FM3 Pan­ther Pink paint, and the white in­te­rior were cer­tainly ma­jor fac­tors in the fi­nal value.n The gor­geous cars of Rob Blair were dis­played in what was nick­named the Gazil­lion Pavil­ion, the dis­play hall for high-value cars. Blair took the re­serve off his 1964 Max Wedge Ply­mouth Sport Fury, which then ham­mered sold for $49,500.

Shelby Mus­tangs were not in great quan­tity here, and by far the most im­pres­sive was this 1967 G.T. 500 fea­tur­ing an eight-bar­rel 428 engine, doc­u­mented his­tory, long-term own­er­ship, and a set of orig­i­nal tires af­ter the first owner had added small-let­ter Goodyear 350 race ver­sions. Af­ter spir­ited bid­ding erupted, the 23,000-mile rar­ity climbed to $302,500.n

If your pref­er­ence was for a col­lec­tor-level COPO, this gor­geous and Pro­tect-O-Plate–doc­u­mented RS was one of only 58 built in 1969 and had its fac­tory num­bers-match­ing L72 427-inch engine and de­sir­able Hug­ger Orange paint. It ham­mered suc­cess­fully at $198,000 dur­ing Satur­day’s ac­tion. An as­so­ci­ated COPO Ca­maro without the RS equip­ment in Le Mans Blue sold for $143,000 a mo­ment later.n

n If you were look­ing for a driver, this cor­rectly de­tailed Gar­netRed 1969 Ca­maro with a red in­te­rior was dressed like a highly op­tioned four-speed ZL1 us­ing a mod­ern GM Rac­ing 850-code block and cor­rect ac­ces­sories. Of­fered at no re­serve, it brought a $51,200 fi­nal sale price on Satur­day morn­ing.n

This 1968 Cougar GT-E had been ex­ten­sively re­fin­ished, with in­for­ma­tion not­ing a cor­rect­dis­place­ment 427 engine, al­beit from 1964, and a donor body used to retro­fit the dam­aged orig­i­nal. While it was per­haps not for a purist, some­one wanted the head-turner enough to pay a solid $49,500. Just 356 fac­tory mod­els were cre­ated. This model was the fi­nal fac­tory in­stal­la­tion of the 427ci W-code engine.n If some­body looked for the equiv­a­lent of a press ringer, those cars built for mag­a­zine test duty back in the day with a “lit­tle more power,” this 1966 4-4-2 equipped with a 425ci Rocket in place of the 400 and rare one-year L69 tri-power would be hard to top. Re­fin­ished to other­wise fac­tory con­di­tion, this car went to a new owner for $52,250.

n Reg­gie Jack­son has owned this 1969 Yenko Chev­elle for many years, and few of these rare mid­size dual-COPO cars ever come up for auc­tion. An older restora­tion with a post-Yenko-sale-in­stalled horse­shoe shifter and con­sole, the car went back to Jack­son’s col­lec­tion de­spite a clos­ing bid that reached a mas­sive $310,000.n

n Mike Guarise brought in four cars from his long-es­tab­lished col­lec­tion and sold them all. This 1966 GTO con­vert­ible, painted Char­coal Blue and equipped with an up­graded WS-code TriPower engine, had not been on the mar­ket since an ex­ten­sive restora­tion. It ham­mered sold for $77,000.

n Hard­core Mopar guys know what that M in the VIN’s fifth spot stands for: 440 power. This real 1969 Dart GTS with mon­ster Mag­num power was beau­ti­fully con­di­tioned, fea­tur­ing B5 Blue paint and ex­cel­lent trim. Some­body stepped up, and the clos­ing price for the A-Body was $69,300.

n With a Me­cum “SOLD!” sticker on the win­dow, Mike Guarise’s 1-of-1 Glacier White/Bur­nishedSad­dle-in­te­rior Buick GS Stage 1 rolled out of the fair­grounds’ soar­ing Art Deco–de­sign auc­tion hall into day­light. A pur­chase price of $184,250 is a sign of the healthy present mar­ket­place.

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